IBM Research Africa to host a Virtual Seminar Series on ‘What’s Next in AI (Artificial Intelligence)’

As AI continues to mature, nations around the globe are adopting it more and more to drive large-scale transformation and competitiveness; Africa is no stranger to this. From agriculture and health services to translating languages, AI can play an important role in helping Africa tackle economic problems.

Creating an AI ecosystem and forging local and global relationships is vital. During the past decade, local groups of industry practitioners and researchers have been actively hosting events, including Data Science Africa and Deep Learning Indaba, towards this goal. The African machine learning community has been steadily growing.

This August, on 18th and 25th, IBM Research Africa is inviting academics, students, developers, researchers and AI practitioners to a dialogue on the future of AI through this series of seminars delivered by some of IBM Research’s leading Scientists in Africa and other global labs. With a focus on advances in trustworthy AI, neural and symbolic learning, reasoning and language understanding, this series will launch a continent-wide conversation on the future of AI and the role of the African computing community in inventing what’s next for AI in Africa.

To learn more on the event, follow the link here and to register, click here.

Upcoming Kikapu Webinar

The Library and the eResearch Office will be hosting a webinar that focuses on our Institutional Data Repository, Kikapu.

Kikapu is UWC’s online institutional research data repository. It is a versatile platform for publishing and accessing research data and scholarly outputs, and accepts a wide variety of non-traditional research outputs and file formats. Research data and any associated documents can be stored and shared in either primary or refined versions.

Read more about Kikapu.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 3 August from 11-12.

Introduction to Research Data Management and Kikapu

The webinar will cover the following:

Introduction to Research Data and Research Data Management (RDM):
– Publishing research data
– Open Access
– The FAIR Data Principles

Introduction to Kipaku – UWC’s Research Data Repository:
– Creating an account
– Uploading content (datasets)
– Publishing uploaded content (datasets)
– Citing published content
– Tracking record statistics

Register for the webinar.

DIRISA Student Datathon Competition

DIRISA (the Data Intensive Research Initiative of South Africa) has organised a student datathon to showcase how open research data can be used to come up with creative and innovative solutions to some of South Africa’s problems. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students above the age of 18, and is free to enter.

DIRISA is one of the three pillars of South Africa’s National Integrated Cyber Infrastructure System (NICIS), and will be hosting the virtual four day tournament from 26 to 29 July 2021.

In this annual event, student teams from South African universities compete in the development of software applications based on data science, artificial intelligence and other leading edge technologies, to solve relevant South African challenges. Last year’s theme was To provide a South African solution related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in 2021, participants will be expected to source open datasets to find solutions.

Here is the link for the event page https://sdc.dirisa.ac.za/.

Registration is open, and the competition begins on 26 July.

Find out more and sign up to enter.

Introducing ESCALATOR

An exciting addition to the South Africa Digital Humanities (DH) landscape, ESCALATOR has recently launched, and aims to establish a local community of practice within DH. SADiLaR (the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources) is behind the project which will focus on the adoption of digital research methodologies and practices to the Social Sciences and Humanities.

“Humanities and Social Sciences research and education are in dire need of strong coordinated interventions to enable the pervasive adoption of digital research methodologies and practices. Over the past few years several capacity development initiatives were implemented within various institutions and communities, but South Africa still lacks a national, integrated active community of practice in this space”.

SADiLaR

Working groups like Python study group and the R study group provide valuable long-term learning opportunities and supportive communities. Additionally, the ESCALATOR Digital Champions Initiative is a multi-track mentorship and networking programme that complements other activities, and is open to researchers, professional staff, and students from the 26 public universities and research councils in South Africa.

Find out more about the project.

The State of Open Data Survey 2021

Every year, Figshare, in partnership with Digital Science and Springer Nature, conducts the largest survey of its kind to discover global attitudes towards open data.

Researchers from around the world are invited to participate in The State of Open Data Survey 2021.

The aim of the survey is to find out about global experiences and attitudes towards sharing data, how researchers handle research data, the challenges that researchers and institutions face in regard to data, and its impact on workload and resources.

Read about the results of the 2020 survey here.

Survey completion time: approximately 20 minutes
Closing date: Friday 30th July
Prize draw: One of five $100 gift cards

Take the survey

Upcoming REDCap Webinar: Take Control Of Electronic Data Capture And Workflow

The eResearch Office invites researchers and students to participate in a webinar on REDCap on Tuesday 6 July at 11am.

REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) is a browser-based, metadata-driven Electronic Data Capture (EDC) software and workflow methodology for designing clinical and translational research databases. It is widely used in the academic research community: the REDCap Consortium is a collaborative, international network of more than 2400 institutional partners in over 115 countries, with more than 590,000 total end-users employing the software for more than 450,000 ongoing research studies.

REDCap users can benefit from a broad range of data collection functionality, and take control of their data collection work. It is a powerful tool for secure methods of flexible and robust data collection, and although it was originally developed for the Health Sciences, it can be used in any discipline.

The webinar will include an introduction to the REDCap platform and its main features, a demonstration on how REDCap data can be used for analysis and visualisation, as well as brief presentations of use cases by colleagues at UWC. We will conclude with questions directed at the panel.

We will also be addressing any UWC-specific related REDCap queries, and if there are any pressing questions that you would like to raise, please feel free to email us prior to the webinar at eresearch-support@uwc.ac.za

REDCAP Webinar Details

Date: Tuesday 6 July 
Time: 11:00 am
Register in advancehttps://uwc.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrdO6gqD4oGtX-_HRfWxFJIhbVWq-tAQSU

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

We look forward to seeing you there.

CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021

Registration is now open for CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021! 

The Carpentries is a non-profit organisation that teaches foundational computational, coding, and data science skills to academics, students and academic support staff worldwide. Carpentries workshops have been running at South African public universities and research institutions to hundreds of learners since 2014, and almost 100 instructors have been trained to teach digital and computational concepts to novices.

The first South African CarpentryConnect took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2018. The second will be held virtually and will bring together newer and more experienced community members to share knowledge, network, develop new skills, and develop strategies for building strong local communities around digital and computational literacy at universities. Workshop fees and mobile data for African participants are funded by Code for Science and Society Event Fund

We invite participants to register for the following events:

Data Carpentry: 6-10 September, 9:00-13:00 SAST. This is an introduction to R, designed for participants with no programming experience. Lessons begin with some basic information about R syntax and the RStudio interface, and then move through how to import CSV files, the structuring of data frames, how to deal with factors, how to add/remove rows and columns and how to calculate summary statistics from a data frame. The lessons also touch on plotting, which is an excellent introduction to data visualisation. Space is limited to 25 learners. Register here.

Instructor training: 13-17 September, 9:00-13:00 SAST. The Carpentries workshops are taught by trained, peer, volunteer instructors. All of our Instructors complete an Instructor Training program, which teaches instructional pedagogy as well as the practicalities of teaching a Carpentries workshop. Instructors can teach workshops in their local area, travel to teach or teach or teach online. We have held workshops in over 40 countries on every continent (including Antarctica). Space is limited to 20 learners. Register here. *Please use the code “ccza43”.

Other events include:

Keynote: CarpentryConnect South Africa’s blurb in 2021 will be delivered by Dr Kari L. Jordan, Executive Director at The Carpentries on Monday 6 September at 14:00 SAST. Register here.

Networking events: The CarpentryConnect South Africa organising team will also host two networking events (Tuesday 7 and Thursday 16 September at 14:00 SAST) for our Carpentries community. These will be great opportunities to connect with like-minded people in fun, collaborative and interactive online events. Register here.

Closing: On Friday 17 September at 14:00 SAST we would like to create a space for community members to offer feedback and lessons learned on CarpentryConnect South Africa 2021 at the end of the two weeks. Register here.

For more information visit https://za2021.carpentryconnect.org/ 

Please note: While the event is fully funded by the organisers you will be held liable for a R500 attendance fee should you fail to attend without cancelling more than 48 hours prior.

Research Opportunity Announcement: Data Generation Projects for the Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program

The NIH (US National Institute of Health) Common Fund’s Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) program is designed to help propel biomedical research forward by setting the stage for widespread adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that tackles complex biomedical challenges beyond human intuition. It is a new NIH Common Fund program, and will tap into the power of AI to lead the way toward insights that can ultimately inform clinical decisions and individualize care. AI, which encompasses many methods, including modern machine learning (ML), offers potential solutions to many challenges in biomedical and behavioral research.

The Bridge2AI program plans to support several interdisciplinary Data Generation Projects (OTA-21-008) and one complementary cross-cutting Integration, Dissemination and Evaluation (BRIDGE) Center (NOT-RM-21-021) to generate flagship data sets and best practices for the collection and preparation of AI/ML-ready data to address biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges. 

It also plans to support the formation of teams richly diverse in perspectives, backgrounds, and academic and technical disciplines. The current Research Opportunity Announcement (ROA) for Data Generation Projects for the Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program (OT2) (OTA-21-008) requires a Plan for Enhancing Diverse Perspectives (PEDP)—a summary of strategies to advance the scientific and technical merit of the proposed project(s) through inclusivity. Visit the Bridge2AI Program Resources page and Program FAQs for additional information on building diverse teams and for PEDP guidance.    To facilitate team building across communities and ensure responsiveness of proposals, NIH strongly encourages potential proposers to participate in the Grand Challenge Team Building Activities taking place in June 2021, please save the date for these upcoming events:    

Bridge2AI Program Town Hall
June 9, 2021
2:00-3:30pm ET
Bridge2AI Data Generation Project Module Microlabs
June 14, 16, and 18, 2021
2:00-4:00pm ET each day
Bridge2AI Grand Challenge Team Building Expo
June 23, 2021
11:00am-5:00pm ET


Further information about how to register and participate in these events, as well as an online networking platform, will be coming soon. Please check the Bridge2AI Scientific Meetings page for updates.    Please refer to the research opportunity announcement (OTA-21-008) for additional information on application submission and review. A Letter of Intent (LOI) is required, LOIs must be emailed to bridge2ai@od.nih.gov by 11:59 PM ET on or before July 20, 2021.   We encourage you to share the Bridge2AI listserv signup with your contacts and networks so they will receive updates on future funding announcements and the latest news from the Bridge2AI program. You can also keep up to date with the latest information by visiting the Bridge2AIwebsite. Questions can be sent to bridge2ai@od.nih.gov.

Read more about the vision for this new program in a recent NLM Director’s blog

Research Data Management Short Course

H3ABioNet (Pan African Bioinformatics Network for the Human Heredity and Health in Africa) is offering a short course in Research Data Management (RDM) in June 2021. The course is aimed at graduate students and biomedical scientists who are currently working on clinical genomics and bioinformatics projects in Africa, and registration closes on 24 May. It will take place over four days from 22-25 June from 10:00 to 14:00.

About the Course

The Research Data Management (RDM) short course will introduce the principles and practices of RDM and provide practical advice for implementing these practices in an African research context. Nicky Mulder is Principal investigator of H3ABioNet, and leads UCT’s Computational Biology (CBIO) group which is an ilifu partner.

Topics covered will include data discovery and re-use, data documentation and organization, data standards and Ontology, data storage and security, repositories and policies, FAIR & reproducibility and best practices in developing an effective Data Management Plan.

After the course, participants should be able to:

  1. Understand what research data management is;
  2. Recognize why research data management is necessary;
  3. Understand best practices and aspects for research data management; and
  4. Have knowledge of the RDM tools available at your institution and online.

The course will only provide a foundation for continued learning in research data management and will not teach any advanced RDM aspects. 

Find out more and apply.

UWC’s first Data Carpentry Workshop of 2021

From 12-16 April, the eResearch Office hosted UWC’s first Data Carpentry workshop of 2021. It was an online workshop held over five mornings, and was attended by over 20 researchers. The workshop was aimed at students and researchers who want to start learning how to work with their data, and was sponsored by SADiLaR.

The eResearch Office promotes and supports the use of advanced information technologies to enable better, faster and higher-impact research, and we hope to grow the Carpentries community at UWC.

Data Carpentry develops and teaches workshops on the fundamental data skills needed to conduct research. Its target audience is researchers who have little to no prior computational experience, and its lessons are domain specific, building on learners’ existing knowledge to enable them to quickly apply skills learned to their own research. Participants are encouraged to help one another and to apply what they have learned to their own research problems.

Lessons included data organising and cleaning in spreadsheets and with OpenRefine, and data analysis and visualisation with R and RStudio. 

Please contact eresearch-support@uwc.ac.za if you would like to be added to the UWC Carpentries mailing list.